The Museum of Tomorrow is a science museum where visitors explore possible scenarios for the future on our planet through audiovisual exhibits, interactive installations and games, all based on data from Brazilian and international research institutions. The museum’s narrative is guided by five central questions: ‘Where do we come from?’, ‘Who are we?’, ‘Where are we?’, ‘Where are we going?’ and ‘How do we want to live together over the next 50 years?’ The museum will encourage reflection about the Anthropocene era, when man began to alter the climate, degrade biomes and interfere with ecosystems.
Population growth and increased lifespan, patterns of consumption, climate change, genetic engineering and bioethics, income distribution, advances in technology and changes in biodiversity are among the topics addressed by the museum's content. Exhibitions are curated by physicist and cosmologist Luiz Alberto Oliveira and designed by Ralph Appelbaum with artistic direction by Andres Clerici.
The permanent exhibition at the Museum of Tomorrow will offer 53 different experiences grouped into five main areas: the cosmos, the earth, the anthropocene, tomorrow and us. Each of the five areas will present visitors with an overview, as well as the opportunity to look deeper into the topics.
Technology is employed to enrich visitors' experience. A team of over 30 Brazilian and international consultants from a range of areas composed the content of the main exhibition. The museum's partners include some of the most important science institutions in Brazil and abroad, including The National Institute of Space Research (INPE, by its Portuguese acronym), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Currently under construction at Pier Mauá, the Museum of Tomorrow is one the anchors of the Porto Maravilha Project. Established to revitalize Rio’s port area, it covers approximately 322 square feet and features outdoor greenspaces, a reflecting pool, a bike path and a recreation area. The museum employs sustainable architectural practices and is seeking LEED certification from the Green Building Council (USGBC). Local natural resources are incorporated in the construction. Water from the Guanabara Bay, for example, will be used for interior climate control and then to supply the reflection pool. Solar panels will be installed on large, moveable, wing-like steel structures on the roof.
The Museum of Tomorrow is a joint venture of the City of Rio de Janeiro and the Roberto Marinho Foundation, with Santander Bank as its primary sponsor and BG Brasil as sustaining sponsor. The museum is one of several construction projects of the City of Rio de Janeiro executed by the Porto Novo Consortium as part of the biggest public-private partnership (PPP) in the country. The project also receives funding from the State of Rio de Janeiro through the Secretary of the Environment, and from the federal government through FINEP, a funding institution within the Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as from the Port Authority of Rio de Janeiro.
The Main Exhibition
Visitors will begin the museum experience immersed in the cosmos as they view a 360o projection on the walls of an egg-shaped space. They will embark on a sensory voyage through the universe, from microscopic particles to distant galaxies. Then, in the area called Cosmic Horizons, interactive screens are available for further exploration of the topics presented in the film.
In the area focused on the earth, three 23-square-foot cubes represent the three dimensions of existence: matter, life and thought. DNA, an element common to all species, is depicted on the exterior of the life cube. Photographs of the Atlantic Forest biome, which covers much of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, taken during three expeditions made by the Museum of Tomorrow are displayed on the interior of the cube. They depict six ecosystem types: high altitude fields, highland forests, mangroves, sandbanks, lowland forests and coastal areas and portray the diversity and interconnectedness of all living things.
The anthropocene exhibit, at the heart of the museum both physically and conceptually, aims to raise visitors' awareness about their role in the current situation of the world. Imposing thirty-foot towers show audiovisual content about man's actions and their effects on the planet today. Visitors will contemplate the implications of the Earth's population reaching 10 billion in the year 2060. The amount of change expected in the coming 50 years will be comparable to that of the past 10 million years. The Museum of Tomorrow looks at the interconnectedness of human behavior, quality of life and sustainability in light of the unprecedented changes ahead. Exhibits will lead visitors to think about sustainability and ask what we must do to survive and to shape a positive future. Four cave-like structures among the towers will offer experiences that enable visitors to further explore the impacts of man's actions on the Earth.
The section devoted to reflection on tomorrow is divided into three exhibit areas which deal with the relationship among changes in climate and biodiversity, population growth and increased lifespan, greater integration of technology on a global scale, growing number of devices and materials due advances in technology and knowledge.
A visit to the Museum of Tomorrow will conclude with a light and sound presentation in the area named us, where a tjurunga, a ceremonial object of the Australian indigenous people and one of the oldest artifacts known on the planet, is on display. Tjurungas are used in numerous cultures as a symbol of passing on learning and knowledge and, thus, represent the connection between the current and future generations.
Additional Facilities at the Museum of Tomorrow
In addition to the main exhibition area, the museum will feature space for temporary exhibitions, a 400-seat auditorium, a cafe, restaurant and a museum shop. The museum will also house the Laboratory for Exploration of Tomorrow, a space for educational activities and exhibition of projects and prototypes. Reports and other sources of up-to-date information on technological and scientific research on topics related to the museum will be available in the Observatory of Tomorrow. These resources will also be used to update data in the museum's permanent exhibitions.
The Museum of Tomorrow will offer visitors meaningful, interactive experiences to learn about the complex processes that are transforming our planet, and to understand how our actions now will affect future generations.
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